Police Director Col. Chris Massaquoi spoke succinctly about the
continuous reports of corruption within the Liberian National Police
(LNP) especially the traffic division where there are incessant
complains that police officers solicit money from drivers to compromise
traffic violations which is ubiquitous and detrimental to their code of
In an extemporaneous speech delivered during the graduation ceremony of over 200 LNP officers, the Police Director austerely warned drivers to desist from bribing police officers to compromise traffic violations or risk arrest and prosecution.
Col. Massaquoi pointed out that bribery is a crime and warned LNP officers that the security sector is not intended to amass wealth, but to serve the people at all times as plans are underway to ensure that they receive attractive salaries after the security sector process ends.
The LNP boss insinuated that tactical agents working as undercover cops will be deployed at strategic locations to monitor the interaction between drivers and police officers detailed at designated points.
The police chief further spiced up the fight against bribery for traffic violations by including passengers who sometimes witness police exploit against drivers to report the police officer(s) to the nearest depot for prompt prosecution.
The retrogressive aged menace of entrenched bribery within the ranks of the LNP has undoubtedly ‘lowered’ the morale of the force and reduced it to systematic public ridicule where their statutory responsibility has been dwarfed and stereotyped negatively by people they protect and serve.
While the battle to minimize rampant corruption within the LNP has begun with the traffic section, however, there are several sections that also need to be highlighted and overhauled by the Director of the LNP in order to improve its image and increase service delivery to the vulnerable population.
For instance, most police officers detailed at various police depots throughout the country also exploit citizens at their will and pleasure for their own egotistic desire at the behest of complainant(s), which in its effect violates the code of ethics of the LNP.
At most depots especially within Montserrado County and its environs, police officers sometimes request money from complainant(s) to make an arrest, and also request for money to buy sheets to take statements and several other violations, which contravenes LNP ethics.
At the flip side of the violation, police depots are sometimes used as court houses to judge cases instead of forwarding suspects and complainants to the nearest constitutional court where there are legal experts clothed with the authority to investigate cases and make prudent judicial judgment.
Although the threat from Col. Massaquoi is laudable especially during the graduation of over 200 police officers, however, we equivocally caution the LNP boss to go beyond mere pronouncement of arrest and prosecution of both police officers and drivers caught in bribery, but also urge that his office adopt a more robust and practical step to salvage the corruption syndicate.
The police are the first line of protection for citizens, and reports of bribery within the institution have the propensity to cast negative aspersion on its operation both among citizens and foreign residents alike.
Police around the world are constituted to protect lives and properties and enforce the law without fear or favor and not to be labeled as bribery seekers by the people they are supposed to protect in earnest.
It is high time to note that we at The Focus newspaper have taken an eagle’s eye approach to capture the prosecution of violators of your directive in order to minimize what is now referred to as “rampant” corruption within the LNP.
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